Add to Cart failed.
Add to Wish List failed.
Remove from wishlist failed.
Adding to library failed
Follow podcast failed
Unfollow podcast failed
Buy for $21.35
A powerful wartime saga recounting the extraordinary story of the 761st Tank Battalion, the first all-Black armored unit to see combat in World War II.
“More than a combat story...it’s also the story of how Black soldiers had to fight (literally and figuratively) for the right to fight the Germans.” (USA Today)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar first became immersed in the history of the 761st Battalion through family friend Leonard “Smitty” Smith, a veteran of the unit. Working with acclaimed writer Anthony Walton, Abdul-Jabbar interviewed surviving members of the battalion to weave together a pause-resisting narrative based on their memories, stories, and historical accounts, from basic training through the horrors of the battlefield to their postwar experiences. Trained essentially as a public relations gesture to maintain the support of the Black community for the war, the battalion was never intended to see battle.
In fact, General Patton originally opposed their deployment, claiming African Americans couldn’t think quickly enough to operate tanks in combat conditions. But in the summer of 1944, following heavy casualties in the fields of France, the Allies - desperate for trained tank personnel - called the battalion up anyway. While most combat troops fought on the front for a week or two before being rotated back, the men of the 761st served for more than six months, fighting heroically under Patton’s Third Army at the Battle of the Bulge and in the Allies’ final drive across France and Germany. Despite a casualty rate that approached 50 percent and an extreme shortage of personnel and equipment, the 761st would ultimately help liberate some 30 towns and villages, as well as several branch concentration camps.
The racism that shadowed them during the war and the prejudice they faced upon their return home are an indelible part of their story. Shining through most of all, however, are the lasting bonds that united them as soldiers and brothers, the bravery they exhibited on the battlefield, and the quiet dignity and patriotism that defined their lives.
"A wealth of visual and tactical detail about what it was like to work, and often live, on the inside of a tank.... While it will leave aficionados satisfied, this is military history that will prove compelling to anyone with an interest in black men's experience during the 20th century." (Publishers Weekly)
“An absorbing chronicle of the little-recognized all-black tank unit.” (The New York Times)
“A carefully researched and engrossing account that paints the individual dramas of the tankmen against the backdrop of the war...A fine tribute to these unsung heroes and a valuable addition to the literature on African American service in World War II.” (Washington Post Book World)
Featured Article: The Best Listens for Tom Hanks Fans
From Forrest Gump to You’ve Got Mail, Cast Away to Toy Story, Tom Hanks has displayed an incredible range as an actor, and he’s become a household name for bringing some of the most iconic characters to life. But his talent isn’t merely limited to on-screen roles or film voice-over work—Hanks is also a fantastic audiobook narrator and writer, as well as an excellent podcast guest! If you’re looking for some great Tom Hanks content to keep you entertained until his next box office premiere, here are our recommendations.
What listeners say about Brothers in ArmsAverage Customer Ratings
Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.
The Greatest of the Greatest Generation
In the genre of Stephen Ambrose and every bit as good. Yet in one critical way, it is much better. Brothers In Arms tells the story of the fighting men of the 761st tank battalion. The racism these men faced is presented in a straightforward and serious way as simply another aspect of their lives, albeit a gut-wrenchingly important one. There is no preaching or rhetoric in the story and it just simply kills me. In the historical context, it was like discovering a completely unrecognized enemy in the war, even though I have always known that racism was there.
In the face of such degrading hardship from their own country it would be impossible for any man to accomplish what these men did if they did not have each other. Brothers In Arms really brings this home without even trying and has given me a deep and profound appreciation for the word Brother. All of this said, this book is not about racism in WWII, it is about the 761st tank battalion and the incredible fighting they did and the vital contribution they made to winning the war.
It should be no surprise that Kareem Abdul Jabar produced this excellent book; he has successfully pursued excellence all his life. The story is clearly written. I find that often in Ambrose' books it is difficult to tell to whom or to what a particular character is referring to when they are speaking. Not so here. I found myself thinking about this book many weeks after listening to it. I have been filled with emotion and a sense of patriotism, which feels odd considering the treatment of these men. I cannot say enough in favor of this book, and more importantly, of the men of the 761st. MB
13 people found this helpful
- L. Thibodeaux
I loved this book. I appreciate this book mostly for the fact that it allowed you to hear about how African Americans were treated. It is so sad that you had to hear about the mistreatment of our brave soldiers after they sacrificed so much. I enjoyed the wonderful first hand accounts of the events that these brave men experienced. Hats off to all the solders who had the courage to stand up against all odds.
11 people found this helpful
I am changing my rating from 4 to 5 stars after listening a second time threw. I was not so interested in how black soldiers were treated in the southern USA, but it was and IS reality.
I like the first person accounts this book has to offer. It isn't often you get these perspectives, as the men and women of that generation are dying fast.
I recommend this book for ALL history buffs, Black or White.
5 people found this helpful
- The Louligan
MAKES ME PROUD TO BE A (BLACK) AMERICAN!!!
Would you listen to Brothers in Arms again? Why?
Most definitely! Normally I would never read a book about a military war written by a professional basketball player. I say "Play your position!" I'd already been through the period in my career when we tried to convince Shaq to keep his "day job" because he absolutely could not RAP! But I digress..... Kareem Abdul Jabbar did his research here and, as a result of due diligence, delivers "Nothing But Air" - ALL NET!! An amazing, amazing story not known to most black Americans, much less the world at large.
What did you like best about this story?
This is not just an emotional "we been done wrong" bleeding heart account. It is factual, well-written, and unbiased.
What does Richard Allen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He is a black man and, probably without realizing it, adds layers of pride and dignity to an already heroic story.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The very end, the interviews with two of the surviving 761st Tank Battalion "Black Panthers". WOW! It brought me to tears!
Any additional comments?
This is a must-read for everyone who calls themselves an American. To hear about the bravery and sacrifice of men fighting for a nation that treated them like second-class citizens is appalling. Talk about hidden historical facts! These guys helped Patton win the war, even though he never acknowledged their contribution. (Patton died in a car accident the year after the war ended. See? God don't like ugly! ) The greatest tank battalion to ever fight in a war. They lost their lives to bring an end to Adolfo Hitler's reign of terror against the Jews and to gain the freedom of American, British, Australian and Danish soldiers being starved, beaten, tortured, murdered, and otherwise degraded by the Japanese in prisoner of war camps. To avenge the wholesale rape of Chinese women, the use of Chinese children as targets in "skeet shooting" by Japanese soldiers during the siege on Nanking. The enforced unpaid labor and killings of Chinese peasants by the Japanese throughout WWII.
Then these brave black American "citizens" returned home to sit in the back of buses, drink from "Colored" water fountains, be denied jobs, benefits, home loans and education for themselves and their children - the things given to every white veteran, many of whom saw no action at all.. Even while saving the lives of white soldiers, these soldiers were called "nigger" and "monkey". Yet they fought on with dignity, honor, respect and a bravery not borne from the support of a nation who treated them like second-class citizens.
The US claimed that they weren't smart enough or brave enough to be airmen so they were assigned to do a job that "no white man should be wasted doing" - to be boxed into what the military itself termed "iron coffins", huge unwieldy, untested rolling death boxes, often full of deadly carbon monoxide. Yet those black soldiers taught themselves how to drive and survive in those Sherman tanks, thereby being responsible for saving the lives of thousands upon thousands of white soldiers and officers. They had to fight another several decades to get the recognition they deserved. The records of their service and heroism were purposely destroyed because the government did not want it to be known how this country, allegedly the first democratic nation in the world, treated its citizens (and still does today) solely because of the color of our skin. These soldiers had to wait until the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton - long after most of the surviving members of the 761st battalion had passed away - to get their due. Or PART of it, anyway. White Americans should be ashamed to show their faces after such hypocrisy. I hope you all read this book written by a brother about the REAL "Band of Brothers"! Learn what it means to be a true American!!! 🇺🇸
NOTE: One of the original members of the 761st Tank Battalion was the first black professional baseball player, Jackie Robinson, who suffered racism coming and going! What happened to the "unalienable right that we were ALL created equal"? My bad! Those documents were written by men who enslaved men and raped women but still got to the President of this country! The same nation that tried to impeach Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife! None of our business! Hypocrites! 👎😠
15 people found this helpful
The only issues I have with the book are that the narrator mispronounces many words in the book; although most are foreign words. Wish the story was more detailed on the individual battles. Great story and as a history buff; very enlightening esp the racial issues of the time. THESE MEN ARE REAL HEROES!!!
1 person found this helpful
- S. Snoke
A gritty story of Real Heroes
Would you listen to Brothers in Arms again? Why?
Most Definitely yes!! The first time just had too much going on. I would love to have a map or Google Earth to follow along with where the tankers went. One of the many reasons I loved this book was that it was filled with facts about where they went and what they were doing while other events were going on elsewhere.
Another big point for me was that I felt that the story wasn't full of heavy-handed preaching about how bad life was for blacks. I expected that, but the story was academically and objectively written. The people in the story just accepted and moved past all the horrible things that the whites did to them. I wouldn't/ couldn't have been that strong, and I admire them all for shouldering the burden of the racism while continuing to fight and die for the country that wouldn't even admit that they had basic human rights. All around them, white soldiers got breaks, warm food, etc. but the 761st weren't allowed to have any breaks, and kept fighting above and beyond the call of duty. I salute them all and wish more could be done to honor them for their actions.
Who was your favorite character and why?
That's hard to say, because each of them had their own unique character. Some were important because of their innocent beliefs that everything was an adventure, some because their characters were rooted in steadfast devotion to each other. I guess each member of the tank crew for Cool Stud would be the main cast, but the story moved around to different companies, their commanders and so on, and each had an important part to play, so I would have to list everyone in the 761st as being special.
Have you listened to any of Richard Allen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Sorry, this was my first time hearing him. He did well for reading the story but I felt it would have been better if each person had a slightly different voice pattern. most of the characters' voices sounded too similar, so I had to listen for the name of who was speaking to be sure of everything.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes and no. As I said above, there's so much going on that I needed a break myself. But while listening to it, I was engrossed. I felt tired the way the characters were tired, never getting a break from the war or from how they were pushed by the uncaring command leadership.
1 person found this helpful
Unique perspective on WWII history
Brings the reader into the battle for Europe after D-day with striking realism. The perspective of a black enlisted man was unique.
Keep it up, Kareem.
1 person found this helpful
- Anonymous User
Tank Version of Tuskegee Airmen
This is a surprisingly good story of the 761st Tank Bn. and their battle with prejudice and Germans. The book is a typical WWII unit history with the racial prejudices of 1944 showing through clearly. This is not a detailed history but is a good story which most "unit histories" are not.
2 people found this helpful
- Barney L. Crowder
Loved it. (6888th, USS Mason, USS PC-1264 & 555th) would like to hear about them.
loved learning about these men. it hurts that they didnt recieve the honors they should have.